|Constantly updated: last updated 09/02/2002|
|We here at HARO have been told that we have a bizarre taste
So what's currently in HARO's jukebox?
|Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles, Various (1993). Everybody who was elated by the recent Eagles reunion has Common Thread to thank. Eagles member and conservationist Don Henley conceived this album of Eagles covers by country artists as a benefit to save Walden Pond from ruin. Henley and Glenn Frey came together to participate in a video for Travis Tritt's take on Take It Easy, which later paved the way for the reunion album Hell Freezes Over. As a whole, Common Thread is a good album not because of the covers, but because of the source material. As with many cover albums, the artists do not really do anything original with the songs, they just remake them. In this instance, most of the remakes have an extra twang to them. After all, how hard is it to 'countrify' something that is already almost country? Most of the songs chosen are fairly obvious choices also; no artist was willing to take a chance with some of the Eagles' later, harder material. Instead there are fairly boring renditions of Already Gone by Tanya Tucker, Desperado by Clint Black and Peaceful Easy Feeling by Little Texas. John Anderson, Suzy Bogguss, and Diamond Rio fare better on Heartache Tonight, Take It To The Limit, and Lyin' Eyes respectively. Other contributing artists include Brooks & Dunn, Lorrie Morgan, Billy Dean, Trisha Yearwood (who gives the album's best performance on New Kid In Town), Vince Gill, and Alan Jackson. Basically, the Eagles have an extensive catalogue of good songs, and it is nice hearing them done differently, though not by much.|
|I Say I Say I Say, Erasure (1994). Aside from the hit Always, I Say I Say I Say marked a decline in the popularity of new Erasure material. Has anybody (not a diehard fan) heard from them since? By the way, they released a new album in Europe, and it should arrive here sometime next year. This album is remarkable not for any sort of innovation or deviation, but for how similar it is to everything else Erasure does; almost bland. Erasure (consisting of Andy Clarke and Vince Bell) are wonderful at crafting pure pop confection, with the continuous themes of love and loss. They have a very distinct sound of all synthesizers and an amazingly high male voice, and everything here sounds nice, but that's not always enough. The songs also alternate between danceable numbers and love ballads, and although lines like "The spirit will fly and return with a new found energy/So keep it/Within and delight/As your garden grows" from Man in the Moon and "Walked into the ring of fire/Heart in a wall of flames/Put my blues away" from Blues Away sound incredibly sappy when read, but oddly feel right in place when accompanied by the music. It's not the best Erasure, but it still is Erasure, and there's nothing quite like it.|
|Ambient, Moby (1993). Nearly a decade before the world-at-large discovered Moby with the release of Play, he was busily shaping the world of techno. During this period, Moby was a pioneer of techno, lending his face to a mainly anonymous genre and signing to major labels. The latter acts caused some to call him a 'sell-out.' Ambient (released well before the term was coined) is a collection of previously unreleased songs from the late 1980s and early 1990s. This is a vastly different Moby than what most people are used to; not the usual beat-driven dance music, but a slower, subdued, and less insistent. The beats are still there, but they are wrapped amidst lush, evocative melodies, like in Tongues. His classical training (and hints of later works like the album I Like to Score or God Moving Over the Face of the Waters from the movie Heat) show in the piano driven J Breas and Piano & String. However, these works, and everything else on the album, uses everything sparingly. There are no vocals on the album at all, the only thing that comes close is some chanting on Lean on Me, the final track. Still, this does not feel like somebody shifting their style to match another, it is more a crafted musician experimenting with other styles. The result is different, but still his.|
|...And Out Come the Wolves Rancid (1995). Berkely based Rancid, consisting of Tim Armstrong (vocals and guitar), Brett Reed (drums), Lars Frederiksen (guitar), and Matt Freeman (bass) reached its zenith with this release. They have released two more albums in the meantime, but have not reached the same commercial or critical acclaim. Radio hits Time Bomb and Ruby Soho were the main contributors the commercial success. Frequently considered the sonic and lyrical successors of The Clash, Rancid embodies an 'old school' punk mentality with their sky-high mohawks, tattoos, leather studded jackets, and short, furious songs, mixed in with generous helpings of ska (yes people, ska does not necessarily mean horns). The Armstrong's gravel-like vocals are sometimes barely understandable and help contribute to the distinctiveness of Rancid over the 19 songs here (and the album is still relatively short). Time Bomb and Ruby Soho were so successful because they were loud, catchy, and hook-laden. Along with other standouts like Olympia, WA. and Roots Radicals, Rancid follows the "write what you know" ethic, telling gritty stories of the streets and the people they know on them, like on Junkyman, Daly City Train, and As Wicked.|
|Bandwagonesque Teenage Fanclub (1991). Teenage Fanclub is one of the best band nobody's ever heard of, and Bandwagonesque is one of their best albums. Although the general public ignored them, 'real' alternative stations (i.e. college radio) and the critics recognized this, and Spin magazine named it best album of 1991, over such heavyweights as Nirvana (Nevermind) and REM (Out of Time). This album is a wonderful pop-guitar rock confection, with chiming guitars, wry lyrics, and pretty vocal harmonies, and represents for the band an artistic peak and a commercial breakthrough that never really emerged. The Scottish band consists of Norman Blake, Gerard Love, and Brendan O'Hare (now gone), and all three share writing credits. It easy to tell from listening to Bandwagonesque that the three are having fun with their music and their lyrics. Songs can be deceptively simple like What You Do To Me (which essentially has 2 lines) or tongue-in-cheek like Metal Baby. They tackle rock star worship in The Concept and craft some nifty guitar rock in album closer Is This Music?|